Originally founded in 2005, LAVA Space or the Lancaster Avenue Autonomous Space has been a fixture in both West Philly’s punk and leftist activist scenes. After an intense, nearly 2-year long battle over the ownership of the space, LAVA Space is once again fully operational and prepped to get back to the business of fighting the good fight, existing as a space for grassroots organizing and DIY music shows. Starting off 2020 underfunded, with a long list of expenses ranging from past due bills and necessary building repairs, LAVA has called upon Philadelphia’s creative community to help this important venue get back on its feet.
From the bootstraps
Starting on Saturday, February 29th, LAVA Space will host a 2-day festival for the purpose of raising operational funds. Organized by Afrofuturist author and activist Alex Smith, the LAVA Space benefit will feature a who's who of Philly underground music, with acts ranging from Punk rock to hip-hop and experimental music. On the first day of the festival, Philly experimental punk ensemble OOLOI shares the bill with F.O.D., Disappearances, Manikineter and revolutionary hardcore act Soul Glo.
For the festival’s second day, March 1, Philly post-hardcore duo Pinkwash play with Rainbow Crimes, Moor Mother, Kahlil Ali and Camp Candle, the Philly band whose had an influential progressive spin on indie-dance and new wave-inspired soul.
Speaking with BSR, Smith explains the role that LAVA Space plays in the community and the broader purpose of the benefit. “I’ve personally worked with LAVA for many years, through a variety of different changes in leadership. It’s often both praised and maligned, but the effort folks have put in to maintain it as a space outside of mainstream to gather and create is admirable, even when it’s not often appreciated. All of these bands and performers have worked hard to make LAVA an interesting space for music and art, it’s a vital part of the arts and activist community here and I’m glad it’s back.“
With a packed lineup and a mission to revive this embattled community space, the LAVA Benefit provides a space where revolutionary music and politics meet. Keeping true to the LAVA spirit, the organizers explicitly state on the event’s Facebook page “No homophobes, transphobes, racists, misogynists” are welcome in this event. The rest of us can come, rock out and have a great time for a necessary cause.
What, When, Where
LAVA Space, 4134 Lancaster Ave., Philadelphia, hosts a two-day music festival on Saturday, February 29, and Sunday, March 1, starting at 6pm. LAVA requests a $10 donation for each day, attendees can give what they can.